When we awoke on the sun deck we found ourselves back at Punta del Norte (North Point) where
we had started the adventure. However, we had some unexpected guests on the boat with us. During the night we had been invaded by
grasshoppers (Schistocerca melanocera),
large, green hoppers with wings. They were everywhere, on the indoor/outdoor grass-like carpet, climbing
the walls and posts that held up the sun cover and on our loungers where we were sleeping.
The visitors were harmless, but some of the girls reacted adversely to them, letting out screams when one jumped in their
direction. It had to be the biggest belly laugh I had had in a long time. I'm not sure why they had come to the boat, but I would
assume they were looking for some food. They were large enough and had wings that allowed them to fly out into the bay where we
had anchored sometime in the night. I flicked some of them to see them fly and I watched some go all the way back to land without
Tired from laughing hard and building an appetite those of us on the sun deck made our way to the dining room to join the rest
of our group for a final breakfast. We were instructed to get our bags packed and leave them at our cabin door for the crew to
take to the bus via the pangas. After getting the bags packed and staged we returned to the dining room and ate. I just ate some
fruit and had a couple of cups of coffee. Everyone was a little down on this morning; after all our Galápagos adventure was over.
Upon completing breakfast, the group headed toward the pangas for a final shuttle back to the dock on Baltra. From there we
would board the bus and be taken to the airport. When I disembarked from the panga onto the wooden planks of the dock I spotted a
great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
walking along the shoreline. It would be the final species I would photograph on the adventure.
It is a species that is also found in North America, including in Colorado. They are considered wading birds with long legs
enabling them to wade in shallow waters and spear fish with their long, needle-like bills.
On the bus ride to the airport I couldn't help but think about having lost my return ticket to Quito. I had been told that I
would have to pay the airfare again in order to get back. Luckily, I had the funds to do so, but I was not happy with having to do
it. Harry and Pepé had said they might be able to get me another ticket without having to pay, at least they would try.
When we reached the airport Harry came to me and asked for my passport, which I happily handed over to him. He and Pepé
disappeared into the office area of the airport and were gone for a long while. During my wait I went over to the makeshift shops
on the road to buy a coke and chat with my new friends about the previous day's adventures.
Finally, Harry returned with my passport and a new ticket. I was so happy I did not have to pay the airfare again. To show my
appreciation I gave him and Pepé each $20 tip for doing me the huge favor. It was definitely worth a little cash for all their
While we continued to wait for our boarding call I went back over to the shops to see if there were any last minute souvenirs I
might want to purchase. I ended up buying a few postcards for my friends and my doctor back home. They had a little post office
at one end of the row of shops where I bought some stamps and mailed them. I figured I still had another week in Ecuador with the
trip to Napo in the Amazon basin, so they should arrive back in Denver before I did.
Still waiting for the plane I continued to peruse the shops, mostly just looking at the trinkets they had for sale. I really
wasn't in a buying mood, but I did purchase a Galápagos map on which the store merchant gave me an official Galápagos stamp. In
addition to stamping my map he also stamped my passport giving me yet another stamp in my collection on top of the official Ecuador
Finally, we got our boarding call over the loudspeaker and the group assembled in a line to board. The adventure was officially
over and we were on our way back to Guayaquil for a short layover and then back to Quito. We were picked up at the Quito airport
and loaded onto a bus that took us to our hotel where we could rest up for a night and the following day before we started our next
adventure in the Amazon rain forest.